Prioritizing Student Voice

By Erin Rougeux

Happy Educator Appreciation Week! As I reflect on what gets me through the long hours and hard work, I can think of one thing that stands above all others. Our students are the reason we show up, in person or virtually, to work each day, so it is their voices we should listen to first. For years I have worked to establish structures and routines in my classroom to seek feedback from my students, but as we transitioned to learning amidst a pandemic this became both more challenging and even more important.

Teachers make hundreds of decisions a day while attempting to best serve their students’ needs. We are constantly asking ourselves: Did they get it? or Why didn’t they understand this? Rather than guess: ask. This practice will not only give you valuable insight into how your students learn, but also help you to get to know your students, and demonstrate your dedication to improvement alongside them.

Methods to Seek Student Voice

Weekly feedback forms through Google Forms Brief reflections after a task Socio-emotional check-ins

Some things you can do to gather input and incorporate student voice in your classroom:

  • Build in regular structures to ask for student input
  • Vary the questions or prompts based on what you’d like to learn more about (misconceptions, engagement, emotional support, etc.)
  • Explicitly name the importance and value you see in their feedback
  • Listen to, acknowledge, and incorporate the feedback they give

See something you’d like to try? How do you get feedback from your students? Let us know on Twitter @InclusiveEdNY or in the comments!

About Erin
Erin Rougeux (she/her) is an English Language Arts teacher at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science III.